Fascinating Fairy Rings

Fascinating Fairy Rings

Top of the evening to yah folks, wherever you may be.
Welcome to Nifty Buckles Folklore Podcast.
I am your host Nifty Buckles.

Move over Crop circles! Hello Fairy Rings!

On today’s podcast we journey into an mystical, magical, eerie world, where fairies dance and elves sway within their Fascinating Fairy Rings.
Fairy Folklore has been around for centuries.
People from all over the world tell tales of Fairy Rings with respect along with a sprinkle of terror.
Folks affirm a fairy ring or circle is a enchanted, other-worldly, mystical place where fairies, elves and witches dance within the circle.

British & Celtic Folklore tells us of how some weary traveller journeys into the dark woods and stumbles upon a fairy ring, only to witness fairies delightfully dancing within their bewitched circle.
Once caught by the Fairies, witches or other creatures from inside the circle anything can happen to the unsuspecting visitor.
From being dragged down into the Fairy world beneath the ring or forced to dance until the poor soul is driven mad or dies of exhaustion.
What about those magical mushrooms? What makes those fairy ring mushrooms grow in a circular pattern?
Botanists claim, that a particular kind of mushroom including Toadstools spread their spores in a circular design. The mushrooms use up the nitrogen in the soil as they grow and form the circle
Have you ever eyed a Fairy lounging on-top of a Fly Agaric toadstool?
Fly Agaric are those quaint red mushrooms peppered with white polka-dots. Their a favoured type of mushroom we see illustrated in fairytale books and artwork.

Fly Agaric Mushrooms

A Note of Caution:
Most fairy rings are encircled with toadstools or mushrooms some are toxic so always check in a foraging book first before you attempt a taste.
Personally, I don’t recommend it as you may find yourself hexed by a fairy or witch for stealing one of their magical mushrooms.
You wouldn’t wish to return home as a toad, your family may not recognise you.
There are roughly sixty kinds of mushrooms that encircle a fairy ring.
The most popular one is the edible Scotch bonnet (Marasmius Oreades), famously, known as the fairy ring champion.
One of the largest rings ever found is near Belfort in northeastern France formed by (Infundibulicybe geotropa), it’s thought to be about 300 metres (980 ft) in diameter and over 700 years old.
On the South Downs in Southern England (Calocybe gambosa) has grown gigantic, fairy rings which materialize are dated as several hundred years old.

Fairy rings are the subject of diverse folklore and myth worldwide notably in Western Europe.
They are often viewed as perilous places and in folklore, fairy rings are associated with Witches and the Devil.
On the other hand, they have been known to bring good luck to various folks.
Fairy rings are also called Elf, Pixie or Witches rings that spread out quite wide over an area.
Folklore tells of tiny fairy feet that craft these rings in order to commune outdoors and whirl-a-jig in the centre of the circle.
This type of fairy is called an Elemental that cares for the Eco-system it dwells in.
A great deal of folklore surrounds fairy rings.
Their names in European languages often allude to supernatural origins; they are known as Hexenringe “witches’ rings” in German.
In German tradition, fairy rings were thought to mark the site of witches’ dancing on their Walpurgisnacht or Walpurgis Night in English.
In Dutch Fairylore, it tells us that the Devil crafted Fairy Rings to store his milk churn inside of it.

Any livestock that wandered into it would endure the horror of their own milk turning sour. Ouch!

On the other hoof,

Welsh sheep are the only livestock that can graze amid the Fairy Ring consequence free the grass they graze upon in the fairy ring will thrive, and that crops sown from such a place prove more bountiful than those from regular land.

Welsh Mountain Sheep

One Austrian tale tells of gigantic Dragons with fiery tails that forged scorched circles where only toadstools would grow there for seven years. Very impressive!

European superstitions warn us against entering a fairy ring. French tradition reported that fairy rings were defended by Big bug-eyed toads that cursed those who defiled their sacred circles.

In other parts of Europe, entering a fairy ring could cost a visitor to lose one of their eyes.
According to German fairylore folks believed a Witches’ring was evidence a coven boogled during Walpurgis night.

Walpurgis Night, is a traditional holiday celebrated on April 30 in Europe and Scandinavia. In Germany folks dress up in traditional witches attire and play out their witch roles until the break of dawn. Lots of Fun!

Walpurgis Night April 30th photo in public domain

Some tales speak of fairy portals, a person that wanders into the middle of the ring will vanish into the fairy world never to be found again.

Spirits tend to bury their treasure in them.
In the fairy world what seems like an hour is years in earth time. The Fairy Ring Dew is said to have healing properties.
Remember not to venture into a fairy ring as you will most likely experience a time warp. One hour in the fairy land is like years in our world. You probably will never return to our world again.
If one happens to return to our realm with fairy treasure, charms or trinkets without permission of the Fairies, that thief will find their Fairy items will quickly vanish as soon as they exit the Fairy-land.

If you see a fairy ring
in a field of grass,
Very lightly step around,
Tiptoe as you pass;
Last night fairies frolicked there,
And they’re sleeping somewhere near.

If you see a tiny fay
Lying fast asleep,
Shut your eyes and run away,
Do not stay or peep;
And be sure you never tell,
Or you’ll break a fairy spell.

Poem by William Shakespeare
If You See A Fairy Ring (1564-1616)

And on that note, Thank you for tuning in to listen to Fascinating Fairy Rings.
I’ve been your host Nifty Buckles of Nifty Buckles Folklore Podcast.
Over Sea,
Over Car,
Nifty Buckles voice is
Never Far.

Piper in Fairy Ring in Public domain

Written and Podcast by Nifty Buckles Copyright 2022

Source & References:
• Keightley, Thomas (1905).The Fairy Mythology: Illustrative of the Romance and Superstition of Various Countries. London, United Kingdom: George Bell & Sons.

• Ramsbottom, John (1953). Mushrooms & Toadstools. Collins. ISBN 1-870630-09-2

.Edwards PJ. (1988). “Effects of the fairy ring fungus Agaricus arvensis on nutrient availability in grassland”New Phytologist110 (3): 377–81. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.1988.tb00275.x.

.Alexander, Skye Fairies: The Myths, Legends & Lore https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IPSCO12/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i10
.Arthur Rackham’s illustrations to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
•  illustration: An elf and a fairy kissing, from In Fairy Land (1870) by Richard Doyle illustrator 1824-1883. Author of picture William Allingham 1884-1889 Public Domain Wikimedia Commons.
• William Shakespeare,  If You See a Fairy Ring (1564-1616) Public Domain.
• Fairy Ring Photo in Public Domain

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